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Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: J RUSSELL DERR, Judge.
Troy Hess, pro se.
Jon Bruning, Attorney General, and Linda L. Willard for appellee.
Heavican, C.J., Wright, Connolly, Stephan, McCormack, Miller-Lerman, and Cassel, JJ.
Syllabus by the Court
1. Statutes: Appeal and Error. Statutory interpretation presents a question of law, for which an appellate court has an obligation to reach an independent conclusion irrespective of the determination made by the court below.
2. Tort Claims Act: Appeal and Error. The findings of fact of the trial court in a proceeding under the State Tort Claims Act have the effect of jury findings and will not be disturbed on appeal unless they are clearly wrong.
3. Statutes: Appeal and Error. Absent anything to the contrary, an appellate court will give statutory language its plain and ordinary meaning.
4. Statutes: Appeal and Error. When construing a statute, an appellate court must look to the statute's purpose and give to the statute a reasonable construction which best achieves that purpose, rather than a construction which would defeat it.
5. Convictions: Sentences: Words and Phrases. Legal innocence is defined as the absence of one or more procedural or legal bases to support the sentence given to a defendant.
6. Convictions: Sentences: Words and Phrases. Actual innocence refers to the absence of facts that are prerequisites for the sentence given to a defendant.
7. Statutes. A court must attempt to give effect to all parts of a statute, and if it can be avoided, no word, clause, or sentence will be rejected as superfluous.
8. Trial: Evidence: Appeal and Error. In a civil case, the admission or exclusion of evidence is not reversible error unless it unfairly prejudiced a substantial right of the complaining party.
Troy Hess filed a pro se action for compensation under the Nebraska Claims for Wrongful Conviction and Imprisonment Act (Act). The district court concluded that Hess failed to [287 Neb. 560]show that he was innocent of the charges for which he claims ...